Liverpool maintained their charge for a first Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, keeping just a third top-flight clean sheet of the season in the process.

The Reds remain eight points ahead of Leicester City, who saw off Aston Villa 4-1 to make it eight league victories in a row – their best winning run in their top-flight history.

But defending champions Manchester City are now 14 points adrift of top spot after tasting defeat in their derby showdown with a rejuvenated Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho made it three league wins out of four as Tottenham thrashed Burnley to close to within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost 3-1 at Everton.

There were also wins for Newcastle United and Sheffield United, against Southampton and Norwich City respectively, while Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion took a point off Wolves.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's games.

DERBY DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST POINTS HAUL

Pep Guardiola admitted City could not cope with the pace of United's attacking trio of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in Saturday's clash.

City fell two goals behind inside half an hour and, despite Nicolas Otamendi pulling one back late on, they fell to a defeat that surely ends their hopes of retaining the title.

The loss leaves the reigning champions with 32 points - the lowest return of Guardiola's managerial career after 16 matches.

Kyle Walker refused to wave the white flag, but no English top-flight side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day.

As for United, who beat Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, they are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and have won back-to-back matches for the first time since March.

CLEAN SHEET BONUS FOR RUNAWAY REDS

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had extra reason to celebrate his side's win at Bournemouth, having kept a first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.

In fact, toothless Bournemouth - now beaten in five successive games for the first time in their top-flight history - managed zero shots on target at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp's men have won 24 of their past 25 Premier League matches, including 15 out of 16 this term, and have scored two or more goals in 23 of those past 25 fixtures.

Naby Keita marked his first league start of the season with a goal and an assist, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah were also on target.

Salah's goal took him to 63 in 100 Premier League outings, with Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) the only players to score more in their first century of games.

SENSATIONAL SON INSPIRES MOURINHO'S FREE-SCORING MEN

Tottenham produced a five-star display in their emphatic triumph against Burnley, who suffered their joint-biggest margin of defeat in the Premier League.

Mourinho saw Tottenham score five goals in his fourth Premier League game in charge, something Manchester United failed to achieve in 93 league matches under the Portuguese.

Harry Kane bagged a brace, Lucas Moura scored a sitter and Moussa Sissoko netted for the second home game running, but it was Son Heung-min who stole the show.

Having earlier set up Kane's opener, Son ran from one box to the other and found the net to make it 15 goal involvements in 15 appearances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dele Alli may not have registered in the one-sided contest, though he provided two assists in a Premier League game for the third time and the first since December 2017.

VARDY CLOSING IN ON HIS OWN RECORD

Leicester appear to be the only side standing between Liverpool and a maiden Premier League title success after coming out on top in their Midlands tussle with Aston Villa.

Jamie Vardy helped himself to a couple of goals as the Foxes inflicted a heaviest home league defeat on Villa since they lost 4-0 to Chelsea in April 2016.

The 32-year-old became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League matches since Vardy himself did so in November 2015 when netting 11 in a row.

Only one player other than Vardy has scored in eight successive fixtures, in fact - Van Nistelrooy, who did so in 2002 and again in 2003 during his time at Manchester United.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also registered at Villa Park for Leicester, who have won their past four away Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 17-1.

Leicester City registered a club-record eighth Premier League win a row with a resounding 4-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Sunday.

The result – aided by a Jamie Vardy brace – means Brendan Rodgers' side go back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool and sees them open a six-point advantage over Manchester City following their defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

Sheffield United's impressive return to the top flight continued as they came from behind to beat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road, while Newcastle United left it late to scrape past Southampton by the same scoreline.

In the day's final game, Diogo Jota scored twice as Wolves and Brighton and Hove Albion played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.

 

Foxes maintain sensational run

Vardy's stunning streak continued as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

The 32-year-old claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 matches in a row during Leicester's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to match or even improve upon that landmark.

He put Leicester ahead at Villa Park before Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the Foxes' advantage from close range.

Jack Grealish suggested the hosts could stage a comeback when he scored on the stroke of half-time, but Jonny Evans and Vardy's second sealed yet another three points for Rodgers' relentless side.

Blades bounce back to overcome Canaries

Sheffield United remain unbeaten away from home in this season's Premier League after a narrow victory over Norwich City.

Alexander Tettey had given the hosts a first-half lead, but Chris Wilder's side bounced back after the break courtesy of goals from Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

The Canaries thought they had been handed an opportunity to claw their way back into the game when Chris Basham was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Kenny McLean, only for a VAR review to downgrade the dismissal to a yellow card.

The result moves the Blades up to eighth, while Daniel Farke's side remain four points away from safety in 19th.

Jota double seals away point for Wolves

Wolves stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 games after a draw with Brighton that saw all four goals scored in the first half.

Jota put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute after playing a one-two with Raul Jimenez before the hosts turned the game on its head with two goals in 96 seconds.

First, Neal Maupay drew Graham Potter's side level and then Davy Propper put them ahead with a fine header from Leandro Trossard's cross.

Jota ensured a share of the spoils a minute before the interval, though, turning inside the penalty area and firing past Mat Ryan.

Magpies' revival continues with hard-fought win

Jonjo Shelvey scored for a third consecutive game as Newcastle made it four wins from their past six in the Premier League with a late victory over Southampton.

The Saints went ahead courtesy of Danny Ings' fifth goal in as many games seven minutes into the second half, but Shelvey restored parity in the 68th minute.

Federico Fernandez had the final say, firing in from close range after Sean Longstaff's shot was parried by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with three minutes of normal time to go.

Jamie Vardy's stunning streak continued on Sunday as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

Vardy claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 consecutive matches during Leicester City's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to improve on that landmark.

He was on target after 20 minutes at Aston Villa in Leicester's latest game, boosting the Foxes' chances of recording an eighth successive Premier League win and closing back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool.

Vardy has been the English top flight's most prolific forward since Brendan Rodgers' first game in charge of Leicester on March 3, scoring 24 league goals in that time, seven more than any other player. 

 

Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has 14 goals for the Foxes this season with nine in his past seven Premier League games.

Vardy's form has sparked talk of a title challenge for Brendan Rodgers' side, with Leicester currently occupying second place - eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

The 32-year-old's current sequence has also drawn comparison with another of his hot streaks when Leicester last won the league. 

Vardy's incredible run of scoring 11 matches in a row, which broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of 10 goals in consecutive matches, was one of the most memorable moments of Leicester's championship-winning campaign of 2015-16.

"I don't think he is," Rodgers said, when asked if Vardy was thinking about breaking for the record again. "I think he just looks to the next game."

VARDY'S GOALS ECHO 5000-1 TITLE SEASON

When Vardy is flying, so are Leicester. There is something more than reminiscent about his current ruthlessness in front of goal. Or is there?

Vardy seems to be attempting fewer dribbles this time around – his tally of 13 so far is proportionally lower than the 33 he made in those record-breaking 11 matches. A sign, perhaps, his style is not quite as tenacious and direct as a few years ago.

He is marginally down on the number of shots on goal, too. He has attempted 24 shots in the past seven games versus 49 in 11 during 2015.

Vardy does, though, have two assists to his name during this streak against none last time around. An indicator of his experience, intelligence and awareness.

"I love his energy," said Rodgers. "I love his passion. He actually loves football, which helps. He knows the game."

 

HIGH-OCTANE VARDY STILL HUNGRY FOR GOALS

The well-documented pre-match routine has remained the same for Vardy under Rodgers.

Vardy still downs three cans of Red Bull, sips a double-expresso coffee and munches on a cheese and ham omelette ahead of kick-off.

He also remains as committed and hungry as ever, even though he turns 33 next month. It was only eight years ago he was working in a factory before turning professional for Fleetwood Town.

In the build up to the campaign, Vardy came back leaner and meaner than he has ever been. The Telegraph reported his pre-season his fitness statistics were 21 per cent better his best score in 2012, the year he joined the Foxes.

He has also been more accurate during this goalscoring streak. Vardy has a shooting accuracy of 72.7 per cent and a shot conversion of 37.5 per cent in his present run compared to 62.2 and 26.5.

 

FIVE GOALS FROM GREATNESS

Five goals in five games would see Vardy break the record he set in November 2015.

Leicester's next five games are Aston Villa (a), Norwich (h), Manchester City (a), Liverpool (h) and West Ham (a) and Vardy will be a near-certain starter provided he does not pick up an injury or suspension.

On paper, Liverpool and City might present Vardy's biggest test but he actually boasts an impressive record against the Premier League's top clubs.

His seven goals in 10 games against Liverpool is only bettered by the nine he has scored facing Arsenal in the same number of matches – no wonder they wanted to sign him in 2016! 

Against defending champions City, he has four goals in 10 appearances, one in four against Villa, one in two versus Norwich and three in nine against West Ham.

Brendan Rodgers has signed a new contract with Leicester City until June 2025, the club have confirmed.

Rodgers was appointed by the Foxes in February and has since overseen 17 wins in 26 Premier League matches.

Leicester have been flying this season and sit second in the table, eight points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool.

Rodgers said: "When I made the decision to come to Leicester City, it was because I was excited about the direction the club was taking and how I could apply my experience to the journey. I came here with a purpose to add something to that and to help the club build for the future.

"The support I have had from the chairman, Khun Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha]; from the chief executive, Susan Whelan; from the director of football, Jon Rudkin; and from everyone at the club has been amazing.

"I've inherited an outstanding team of staff that are dedicated to progress and improvement and we have a group of players that are a joy to work with every day.

"And to the club's supporters, I can only say thank you for welcoming me and my staff into your club and for putting your faith in our work.

"We'll continue to work together to bring success to Leicester City for many years to come."

Leicester's performances had seen Rodgers linked with the vacant post at Arsenal, who sacked Unai Emery last week.

However, Rodgers – whose previous deal ran until 2022 – this week he was "very happy" at the King Power Stadium and the Leicester chairman was thrilled to have tied down the 46-year-old.

"Brendan's qualities as a coach are well known and evident in the way he has sought to unlock the potential in every member of our exciting young squad," Srivaddhanaprabha said.

"But just as important to us is the suitability of Brendan's wider philosophy to the club's established culture and values.

"He and his staff immersed themselves immediately, building an understanding for the club and the city and an appreciation for what makes them special.

"That has been a valuable combination over the last nine months – strengthening the bond between our players, staff and supporters – and I'm excited to see how it can continue to enhance our long-term vision for the club."

Rodgers had spells in charge of Watford, Reading and Swansea City before joining Liverpool, who he led to a second-place finish in a thrilling 2013-14 season.

After departing Anfield in October 2015, Rodgers headed to Celtic and oversaw treble-winning seasons in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.

Leicester equalled a club record of seven consecutive top-flight victories by beating Watford 2-0 on Wednesday and will look to break the benchmark against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Liverpool cruised to a 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby against Everton as they consolidated their lead at the top of the Premier League, despite a much-changed team.

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho endured an unhappy return to Old Trafford as his side lost 2-1 to Manchester United - the Portuguese has not won there as a visiting boss in his past five attempts.

Defending champions Manchester City thrashed Burnley 4-1 as Pep Guardiola made it eight wins in his nine games against the Clarets.

A midweek round of Premier League fixtures brought a range of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are below.

KLOPP ECLIPSES SHANKLY, PAISLEY AND DALGLISH 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will likely need to deliver the Premier League title to secure his place in the pantheon of Anfield greats.

However, the German has put down a few markers suggesting he is ready to join the Kop's hall of fame by becoming the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 league victories. Klopp completed the feat in 159 games – quicker than Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

Liverpool secured the win over Everton thanks to a brace from Divock Origi, and one goal apiece for Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are now unbeaten in their past 32 Premier League games which is their longest run without defeat in top-flight history.

Marco Silva's final match at the helm saw him become the first Everton manager to concede five league goals against Liverpool in a single match since Howard Kendall in November 1982.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR MOURINHO 

United's 2-1 win over Tottenham, secured courtesy of two goals from Marcus Rashford – taking his tally to nine in 10 games – made Mourinho's return to his old club a miserable one.

Mourinho has won none of his past five away Premier League matches against the Red Devils (D3 L2), failing to beat four different managers in that time – Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was also Tottenham 35th Premier League defeat against United – more than they have suffered against any other team. 

Spurs' defence must also be a concern for Mourinho. They have conceded twice in their four matches in all competitions under the Portuguese – they only had a run of conceding two or more goals in four consecutive games once under Mauricio Pochettino, doing so in February and March 2015.

Midfielder Dele Alli has started to rediscover some of his old form, though, and his equaliser for Spurs was his third goal in as many appearances for the club in all competitions – the first time since March 2017 he has enjoyed such a purple patch.

 

CITY THREE AND EASY UNDER PEP

Gabriel Jesus' brace and one apiece for midfielders Rodri and Riyad Mahrez gave City some much-needed confidence with a 4-1 thrashing of Burnley – although they remain 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jesus is now the third highest-scoring Brazilian player in Premier League history (32 goals), trailing only Philippe Coutinho (41) and Roberto Firmino (52).

It was the 36th time City have won a Premier League game by three or more goals under Guardiola – the most of any team in the competition since the start of the 2016-17 season.

David Silva's creative skills remain key for City and he took his tally to six assists from open play in the league this season – just one fewer than he managed in 33 games last season.

Burnley have now conceded 11 goals in their three home games against 'big six' opposition in the Premier League this season, compared to only two goals in five home games against the rest.

 

LJUNGBERG'S LOSS A DROUGHT-BREAKING BOOST FOR BRIGHTON

Managerless, beaten at home by Brighton and Hove Albion and now nine games without victory in all competitions – Gunners fans have every right to be gloomy.

Arsenal's 2-1 loss to the Seagulls made this their longest winless streak since a run of 10 between February and March of 1977.

Mesut Ozil registered his first assist in the league since February when his corner was met by Alexandre Lacazette, but the French forward's 25th English top-flight goal at Emirates Stadium failed to avert a first defeat for interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.

Adam Webster had opened the scoring before the interval and Brighton were able to celebrate their first Premier League away win over 'big six' opposition following Neal Maupay's 80th-minute header.

Arsenal, booed off at full-time, have faced 52 shots on target in home league games this season, four more than in the entire Invincibles campaign of 2003-04.

Brendan Rodgers believes Leicester City's stellar results and playing style will begin to attract top European players to the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes have won seven straight games in the Premier League to sit second behind leaders Liverpool.

Their only defeats have come away at Manchester United and Liverpool and comparisons have been drawn with Claudio Ranieri's title-winning team of 2015-16.

That side was built on a hard-working cast of unheralded underdogs but Rodgers, appointed in February, expects to soon be competing for more glamorous names.

"We sit outside the so-called bigger clubs but where we sit in the table will make people sit up and take notice," Rodgers said.

"There's also the style in which we play and hopefully that's a marker for players to want to be a part of it.

"Our mission has always been clear, we want to play European football and of course the best players want to play in those competitions.

"I think people can look at ourselves and see how we work and how we play, they will know about the recent history of Leicester. It can be a fantastic club to come and work for. We're playing a style of football where players will improve.

"With the training facility and progress we're making, it's a really exciting prospect."

Rodgers has been linked with a move to managerless Arsenal, but the former Celtic and Liverpool boss quashed speculation earlier this week when he insisted he was "very happy" at Leicester.

The Foxes visit Aston Villa on Sunday.

Christian Eriksen is back on Manchester United's transfer radar.

The Red Devils are said to be preparing a January bid for the Tottenham midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Eriksen reportedly turned down a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED REIGNITE ERIKSEN INTEREST

Could Jose Mourinho unintentionally do his old employers another favour?

Tottenham lost to United in midweek and are now about to receive an offer for playmaker Eriksen from their Premier League rivals, reports The Mirror.

The Denmark international has not featured in the starting XI since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino and, though he prefers a move abroad, might have a decision to make when the transfer window reopens.

Seemingly not convinced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side a few months ago, Eriksen can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs overseas from January.

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City are set to hand in-demand manager Brendan Rodgers a bumper new deal in a bid to end interest from Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

- David Moyes wants a long-term commitment from Everton before agreeing to a second stint in charge at Goodison Park, says The Sun.

- Contrary to recent reports, ESPN suggests Patrick Vieira is not at the top of Arsenal's shortlist of potential managers.

- Error-riddled Roberto's ill-fated period as a Premier League goalkeeper could soon be over. The Guardian reports West Ham will look to sell or loan the Spaniard in January, with Turkey a likely destination, as they pursue stronger competition for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

- Serie A side  Milan have offered Zlatan Ibrahimovic a contract that could run for 18 months and will demand an answer from his agent Mino Raiola next week, claims CalcioMercato.

- Diego Simeone wants Atletico Madrid to prioritise signing a striker over Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to AS. The Spanish newspaper links Krzysztof Piatek, Andrea Belotti of Torino, Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud and Valencia's Rodrigo with moves to the Wanda Metropolitano.

- Staying with Atletico and the Rojiblancos have entered the race for rumoured Juventus, Inter and Borussia Dortmund target Sandro Tonali, says CalcioMercato. Tonali, 19, is in his third season in Brescia's first-team squad.

Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Watford have placed Under-23s coach Hayden Mullins in charge for Wednesday's Premier League trip to Leicester City following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores.

Flores' second spell at Vicarage Road was brought to an end at the weekend on the back of a 2-1 loss to Southampton that left the club bottom of the division.

Watford hope to bring in a permanent successor "imminently", but Mullins will be in the dugout for the midweek clash with the high-flying Foxes.

The 40-year-old has been a coach at Watford since July 2016 and was brought in to oversee first-team training on Monday, alongside head of academy goalkeeping Graham Stack.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Hornets post.

Brendan Rodgers insists he is "very happy" at Leicester City amid speculation Arsenal want to appoint him as their new manager.

The Northern Irishman is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice to take over from Unai Emery, who was sacked on Friday after a torrid start to the season.

Rodgers only assumed the helm at the King Power Stadium in February but has wasted little time stamping his authority on the club.

He has masterminded a stunning start to the season, guiding the second-place Foxes to 10 wins in their opening 14 Premier League games.  

Speaking after his side's last-gasp win over Everton on Sunday, Rodgers hinted he has a release clause in his contract.

However, he has now moved to silence suggestions that was an indication of his interest in the job at the Emirates Stadium, claiming he plans to be at Leicester for the long haul.

"I have a contract here until 2022 and thus far – and I know managers are losing their jobs – but the club have not indicated to me that they are going to sack me," said Rodgers.

"I think they're pretty happy with how we are working and like I said, I'm very happy, and I have no reason to look elsewhere.

"I think logic would tell you – I know in your job it's not always logical, there's gossip and speculation – but why would I want to leave Leicester City, at this moment in time?

"I'm working with a young group of players that's got so much potential and want to improve and develop.

"I was asked a question about my contract, talking about clauses and stuff like that, and I gave an honest answer which was based on most managers probably have something in their contract. And by all accounts that opened the door for something.

"I repeat, I'm very happy here. I think there is a lot for us to develop over the next few seasons. We are moving to a new training facility.

"I respect that there'll always be this speculation around jobs and there is probably for a number of managers.

"For me, I repeat, I'm happy here, very happy and have great relations with all the people and I feel I want to continue with that. Take from that what you want."

Rodgers will hope to guide his side to a seventh consecutive Premier League win on Wednesday when bottom club Watford are the visitors. 

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers hinted a release clause exists in his contract amid links to the Arsenal vacancy, though he is fully focused on delivering on the Foxes' potential.

Rodgers is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, with speculation claiming the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has a £14million release clause.

After Leicester edged Everton 2-1 to stay second and eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, Rodgers was asked about the rumours.

"There probably is [a clause] in most managers' contracts. It's all hypothetical – all these types of situations," Rodgers, who moved to Leicester in February, told Sky Sports.

"For me, at this moment, we've had a brilliant win today. My focus is very much with Leicester because I made a change eight or nine months ago, and I've been so happy since I came here.

"I feel, with the players, we still have a lot of work to do. Most managers' contracts will have something in that but, for me, my only concentration is with Leicester.

"I've been very fortunate in my career to work with some brilliant clubs and great institutions. It was an ambition to come here to help the club arrive in the top six. Everything's been great since we've worked together.

"My ambition is to help this club, a responsibility to share that with the others and move the club forward. There's great potential here at Leicester City to push on in the next few years."

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